Book Review: Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Format: Paperback, won in a giveaway
Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goodreads
Blurb: This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It’s about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it’s about love. Finding love – in any of its forms – and nurturing it.

Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple.


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Book Review: My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

31942576Format: ARC, Paperback
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Blurb: I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair. She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it? Continue reading

Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

3437Publisher: Vintage
Format: Bought, paperback
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK
Blurb: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome.

He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down. Continue reading

Book Review: When He Fell by Kate Hewitt (& Giveaway)

25486341Publisher: Carina
Format: eBook, ARC from NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble
Blurb: Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart.

As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised… with lasting repercussions for both families.

And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.


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Book Review: George’s Grand Tour by Caroline Vermalle

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23282133Title: George’s Grand Tour

Author: Caroline Vermalle

Publisher: Gallic


Blurb: At the age of eighty-three, retired butcher George Nicoleau is about to set off on the greatest adventure of his life. George and his neighbor Charles have long dreamt of a road trip, driving the 3,500 kilometres that make up the stages of the Tour de France. And now that George’s over-protective daughter has gone to South America, it’s time to seize the moment.

But just when he feels free of family ties, George’s granddaughter Adèle starts calling him from London, and he finds himself promising to text her as he travels around France, although he doesn’t even know how to use a mobile.

George is plagued by doubts, health worries, and an indifference to modern technology. And yet—might the journey still prove to be everything he had hoped for? Continue reading

Book Review: The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

18623494Title: The Dead Wife’s Handbook

Author: Hannah Beckerman

Publisher: Penguin

2015 Reading Challenge Category: A Book That Made Me Cry


Blurb: The end was just the beginning…

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for. Continue reading

Book Review: Fractured by Dani Atkins

20131029-082224-amWhat it’s about:

The night of the accident changed everything…

Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is crumbling. She lives alone in a tiny flat, working in a dead-end job, desperate with guilt over her best friend’s death.

She would give anything to turn back the clock. But life doesn’t work like that… Does it?

The night of the accident was a lucky escape…

Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiancé, loving family and friends around her, and the career she always wanted.

But why can’t Rachel shake the memory of a very different life?

CharlooDividerReview:

I decided to buy this book after reading Megan’s review of it on her blog (you can find her review here). Once I bought it, I found lots of other bloggers had also read it and reviewed it very highly so I was eager to see what all the hullaballoo was about! Fractured is about a girl called Rachel who along with her friends witnesses a freak accident when a man loses control of his car and goes hurtling into the restaurant where they are have their last meal together before leaving for university. In order to save Rachel’s life, her best friend Jimmy risked his and 5 years later, Rachel still feels guilty about her best friend’s death on that fateful night and the scar on her face from the debris reminds her every day. Rachel would give anything to turn back the clock and for everything to be different, then in a weird twist of fate – it is and Rachel has the perfect life, her dream job and loving friends and family around her.

Other than the wonderful, unique storyline I think the thing that drew me in and allowed me to finish this book so quick was how easy it was to read. Everything just flowed perfectly from one chapter to the next and all aspects of the book came into balance. Rachel was a great main character – she was so identifiable. Sometimes when reading a book you question what the main character is doing, what their motives are and how if you were in their situation you’d do things differently but I felt so in sync with Rachel the whole way through and was behind her every move. I also loved Jimmy – he is one of the best characters I’ve read in a long time and is officially at the top of my book boyfriend list. In both alternate realities, he plays the hero and I love that he is so willing to do anything for Rachel because he cares about her so much – enough to hide his true feelings from her. Although the initial impression I got was that this isn’t really a romance story, I loved Rachel and Jimmy’s relationship and was rooting for them the whole way through. Some of the other characters and scenarios were a bit cliché e.g. the handsome fiancé and the stuck-up, big-boobed slut sleeping with your fiancé but it worked nevertheless.

I equally loved and hated that author ends some of the chapters on a complete gasp-worthy cliff-hanger moment. It was the perfect strategy to get you to not stop reading. On more than one occasion, I found myself coming to the end of a chapter and I was reading so fast to try and find out what was going to happen I managed to skip over half a page to the last line. I then sheepishly had to go back and re-read everything I just missed but I literally couldn’t stop myself because the story was so compelling. This is one of the very few books I’ve read where the story could have gone any which way possible. There was so many different outcomes that could have happened and not once did guess what the ending was going to be. I thought I did – then something would happen that’d flush that idea down the toilet. This thought-provoking and tear-jerking story left me not only with a tear-stained pillow but in absolute awe of the authors incredible talent. It will make you laugh and cry and leave you wondering one question: What if?

I give Fractured 5 ginormous cupcakes

5 cupcaakes

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About Dani Atkins

Dani Atkins was born in London in 1958, and grew up in North London with her parents and younger brother in Cat Hill and Cockfosters. She moved to rural Hertfordshire in 1985, where she has lived in a small village ever since with her husband, two (now grown-up) children, two elderly cats and one insane Border Collie.

Although Dani has been writing for fun all her life, Fractured is her first novel.

You can find Dani on Facebook

Follow her on Twitter

And you can find Fractured in Paperback and eBook on Amazon

Book Review: Voodoo Child by Janice Horton & author interview

Voodoo Child sm jpeg

What it’s about:

In ‘Voodoo Child’, ex-celebrity UK fashion model Nola and her handsome Haitian husband Louis are expecting their first baby. But as one precious life begins another is about to end. Louis’s beloved old Uncle Sid is dying and has declared his last wish is to see Louis and Nola’s new baby baptised on St John’s Eve – the most important event in the voodoo calendar. The Voodoo isn’t over for Nola or for Louis!

CharlooDividerReview:

It was nice to brush the dust off of Nola, Louis and their incredibly weird yet fascinating Voodoo family and bring them into the forefront of my mind again. I was delighted when I got the email from Janice saying she’d finished Voodoo Child and would like me to review it so I welcomed Nola back with open arms! Voodoo Child is the third and final instalment on the How Do You Voodoo? trilogy. In Voodoo Child, Nola and Louis, our lovely couple who met in book No. 1 are expecting a baby. But that’s not all their expecting… Due to the heritage of Louis’s family, they have to take place in a Voodoo baptism ritual in order to fulfil Louis’s uncle’s dying wish. Voodoo Child is the final conclusion of Nola’s weird and wonderful journey of finding true love, making up for lost time with family members and a whole lot of voodoo magic…

In all honesty, I’m running out of things to say about the Voodoo series as they’re all very consistent and follow on from each other perfectly. You know what you’re getting and it works with these books and although you know what to expect, Janice still manages to shock you with even more crazy voodoo magic. I like that our main character, Nola, started off the victim to voodoo magic (in book one, she had a spell cast on her which caused her beauty to fade and teeth to fall out) but since meeting Louis and finding out about his family’s heritage, she has come to learn more about it and be accepting of their beliefs rather than dismissing it as rubbish. I like that she’s accepting and willing to try it however I can tell that deep down she’s still a bit wary and I think the quote, “Nola smiled, pretending that possession was just the same as a friend popping in” sums that up quite well!

As with the previous two books in this series, I finished it extremely quickly. At around 80 pages long, they’re perfect for commuting, long journeys or just  a quick read if you’re not in the mood for something hard going. I love that these books all include the same characters, stick to the story and don’t go off on pointless and unnecessary sub-plots. I would like to thank Janice for providing me with all 3 books of the trilogy to review, I truly enjoyed every one of them and I look forward to reading more of Janice’s work in the future!

I give Janice 4 cupcakes for Voodoo Child

4 cupcakes

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Interview:

Hi Janice, can you tell us a bit of what Voodoo Child is about?

In Voodoo Child, Nola and Louis are expecting their first baby. This was such fun to write because when a new baby is born it usually brings families together. With Louis’s side of the family heavily involved in voodoo, I expected this to evoke all sorts of story ideas! But as voodoo belief is very much about life and death this allows for a darker side to the story too. So as the new baby is born, we hear that Louis’s old uncle Sid is dying. In voodoo culture, a dying person’s last wish is very important and we know this from the first book, How Do You Voodoo? when Louis has the responsibility of carrying out his mother’s last wish. So in Voodoo Child, we come full circle as Louis is entrusted to fulfil his uncle’s last wish, which is to see their baby baptised in the bayou on St John’s Eve – the most important date in the voodoo calendar!

How does it feel to come to the end of the Voodoo trilogy? What will you miss most about it?

I feel proud of what I have achieved with this series. I originally set out to write a novella between full length novels, not a linked series, but one led naturally on to another. Each is a 20,000 word complete story, so I found them no less challenging to write than a full length novel. I’ve become rather attached to Louis’s crazy voodoo family, so if I miss the voodoo too much, I might have to write a few more stories about them – but you’d have to get to the end of Voodoo Child to see which direction that would take us in!

Do you personally believe in any kind of voodoo, spirits or magic in general?

Actually, no. I’m with Louis on this one. I believe in science and medicine and not spells and magic.

Do you have another book on the cards and are you able to tell us anything about it?

My work in progress is a full length novel. I’ve not very far into it yet and I don’t plot or plan, so I can’t really tell you much because I don’t know what happens yet. What I can tell you is that I have a great topical theme and two very interesting main characters that, despite their differences, fall madly in love and end up together in the end.

When finishing a book (or a trilogy in this case) what do you do to treat yourself for all your hard work?

A nicely chilled bottle of champagne!

Do you have a strict writing routine?

For the past year, writing has been my full time job as opposed to a part time one. I do try to be strict with myself because I want to be known as a professional. I have post it notes all over my desktop with deadline dates I must adhere to. Some are for Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine features and others are book deadlines that I’ve agreed with my editor. I’m at my desk at 9am and in the first hour or so I deal with my emails and social media postings. It’s not all about promoting myself however as I love to support other writers. Then, before I settle down to a good few hours of creative writing, I go off into the countryside for a run. I run a to clear my head, plus I find that sitting at a desk and computer all day is a sure fire way for me to pile on the pounds as well as getting sore muscles and stiff joints, so I try to run between three to five miles a day.

In our last interview you said you had been invited to speak at The Festival of Romance about your writing and books. When is this event taking place? Are you excited or nervous? And what do you hope to gain from the experience?

I’m very excited and nervous in equal measures! I’m flying down from Glasgow to attend the Festival of Romance and I’ll be there for the entire weekend. I’m most excited about meeting everyone involved, those people I already know and those lovely peeps I know online but have yet to meet in person. I’m also thrilled to be taking part in the festival as an author and I’ll be reading from one of my books at the Coffee and Cake Event on Saturday 9th November. I suspect the highlight of the weekend will be cheering on all the Loveahappyending Lifestyle nominees at the Festival Gala Dinner on the Saturday night!

If your Voodoo trilogy was made into a movie, who would be your dream cast for the main characters?

Nola would have to be played by a Scottish actress who was both beautiful and funny, so Freya Mavor, blonde actress and model and star of ‘Sunshine on Leith’ would be perfect casting. Louis, dark and handsome with a megawatt smile, could easily be played by gorgeous Stargate Atlantis and Conan the Barbarian actor Jason Momoa, who has had worn dreadlocks in his hair of various lengths throughout his film career.

Finally, if you could cast one spell what would it be and why?

It would be a movie spell! I’d love to see one of my books made into a movie – what author wouldn’t?!

From TODAY and the five days up to Halloween you can download eBook One ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ absolutely FREE! Click HERE!

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janice-horton-author-photo1About Janice Horton

Janice Horton writes fiction with humour and heart. Look out for her Amazon Kindle bestselling eBooks ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and her magically romantic Voodoo Romance novellas ‘How Do You Voodoo? and ‘Voodoo Wedding’. Her latest title is a nonfiction guide ‘How To Party Online’. Janice is a regular blogger and you’ll also find her partying on Facebook and Twitter. She is a Featured Author and Associate Editor at Loveahappyending.com.

Link to Janice’s books and Amazon Author Page

Featured Author & Associate Editor at: Loveahappyending.com

Follow Janice’s Blog

Find her on Twitter: @JaniceHorton

Book Review: Voodoo Wedding by Janice Horton

untitled (2)What it’s about:

Loved up fashion model Nola and her handsome Haitian fiancé Louis have finally set the date for their wedding. All they need now is a venue and a guest list, but before Nola can have the wedding of her dreams, she has to deal with something old, something new, something borrowed… and something voodoo!

CharlooDividerReview:

This is the second book in the How Do You Voodoo trilogy and again, it was a very short book but it followed on perfectly from the first instalment. Nola and Louis got together at the end of the previous book and in this one it’s time to plan their wedding. Nola has to make a brave decision whether to leave her modelling career behind and Louis is in his final year of becoming a doctor so planning their wedding hasn’t been easy however, it gets even harder when the press get involved, Nola gets betrayed by a close friend and Louis’ American and Haitian relatives start performing rituals which will summon the spirits of their dead ancestors so they too can join the wedding. The voodoo isn’t over for Nola!

I’ve grown quite fond of these characters which I’ve followed through two books and it’s nice to see that they’ve changed, especially Nola who is now compassionate and caring compared to the first book where she was stuck-up and self-obsessed. Janice really shows how much Nola has grown up over the space of the two books. I found this book slightly different to the first. It was a bit more slow paced and took a fair while for anything ‘Voodoo’ to happen (compared to How Do You Voodoo when it all happened within the first few chapters). However as certain events happen along the way you know that something is coming and I wasn’t expecting it when it did arrive! I like how their wedding plans are all going fairly well and you think everything is going to go to plan but then all of a sudden ‘Voodoo’ comes and slaps them around the face again.

Janice’s writing style is consistent and well established and extremely easy to read and get lost in. Just like the first book, this one proved to be different, fresh and enjoyable. She keeps all the aspects of the book in balance and doesn’t over do it with the romance or the drama. She also keeps to the theme of the books which is crucial considering the title and the way the first one panned out. The third and final part of Nola and Louis’ story,’ Voodoo Child’ will be out in October this year and I can’t wait to see what Janice has in store for them.

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Janice Horton writes fiction with humour and heart. Look out for her Amazon Kindle bestselling eBooks ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and her magically romantic Voodoo Romance novellas ‘How Do You Voodoo? and ‘Voodoo Wedding’. Her latest title is a nonfiction guide ‘How To Party Online’. Janice is a regular blogger and you’ll also find her partying on Facebook and Twitter. She is a Featured Author and Associate Editor at Loveahappyending.com.

Link to Janice’s books and Amazon Author Page
Featured Author & Associate Editor at: Loveahappyending.com
Follow Janice’s Blog
Twitter: @JaniceHorton